Getting a popular influencer to post on social media about a product has become big business for many brands — but most marketers remain clueless about the rules.
Yes, there are rules. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines require these social media influencer posts — which are sponsored and paid for —to be tagged as ads.
A survey conducted by Lightspeed GMI and Research Now for Izea revealed that only 11 percent of marketers have an understanding of the guidelines. And 60 percent of U.S. influencers polled indicated they either knew about or understood the guidelines.
Worst of all?
“Regardless of awareness, a significant minority of influencers said it’s not uncommon for brands to ask them to hide the fact that their post is sponsored,” reports eMarketer. “Three in 10 U.S. influencers in the survey said they’ve been asked by clients or marketers to not disclose their compensation for a post. As Izea noted in the study, given the delicate nature of the question, it’s likely that the number who are compensated may be even higher.”
More influencers than a year ago, however, are properly labeling their social media posts. According to a Bloomberg report, the number of sponsored posts on Instagram labeled with hashtags such as #ad, #sponsored and #sp (sponsored post) jumped from 120,000 to 300,000 between July, 2015 and July, 2016.
“By not labeling influencer posts as ads, marketers leave themselves open for FTC enforcement,” warns Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer. “A paid endorsement is a paid endorsement, even if it appears in social media.”